People who received detailed audio instructions on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) demonstrated better compression rate, hand placement and compression depth than those who did not receive recorded instructions by cell phone. The results of the study are published today online in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Cell Telephone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: Audio Instructions When Needed by Lay Rescuers: A Randomized, Controlled Trial”).
“Since most people carry cell phones, we designed a cell phone program that can walk people through how to perform CPR,” said lead author Raina Merchant, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa. “It is well-documented that bystanders are reluctant to perform CPR because of a lack of confidence about technique, despite the fact that bystander CPR can deliver blood to vital organs until an ambulance arrives. This has the potential to become a critical, life-saving tool.”
Researchers developed a simple audio recording that can be used by both basic cell phones and the latest, most high-tech smart phones. They evaluated the quality of CPR performed by people who are both trained and untrained in CPR. Regardless of training history, participants using the audio recording on their phone performed significantly better CPR on a manikin compared with participants without the phone.
Participants instructed by cell phone performed 100 compressions per minute, versus 44 per minute in the control group, and achieved compression depth of 41 millimeters, versus 31 millimeters in the control group (depth of compressions less than 38 millimeters is considered too shallow). Ninety-seven percent of the cell phone group demonstrated correct hand placement, versus 75 percent of the control group, and 73 percent of the cell phone group reported feeling excellent or very good about their ability to perform CPR, versus 34 percent of the control group.
“This is an exciting first step for potentially increasing bystanders’ access to real-time CPR instructions that can be used in an emergency to help those in need,” said Dr. Merchant. “These findings show that even without training, anyone can save a life with the push of a button on their cell phone.”
Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, a national medical society. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.